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Measuring retouch location and intensity on hafted bifaces is shown to be an effective technique for assessing artifact function. Unlike other areas of North America, where dart technology is replaced by arrow technology, Coalition Period occupations on the Pajarito Plateau of New Mexico contain both hafted biface forms used simultaneously. A stylistic analysis of dart points shows that hafted biface forms found in Coalition Period contexts were recycled from Middle and Late Archaic surface scatters. Furthermore, retouch location and intensity show that Coalition Period dart points were used for cutting and sawing activities and not as projectile technology.
In the American Southwest, and throughout North America, dart-sized hafted bifaces identified as projectile points, normally associated with sites dating to the Paleoindian and Archaic time periods, are regularly found on sites dating to the past thousand years (cf. Kohler 2004; Turnbow 1997). Late period points were likely small and designed to be attached to the smaller arrow foreshaft. Although researchers have noted the presence of dart-sized points in settings where the bow and arrow were likely used, few have addressed the question of the context of manufacture or use of these larger hafted bifaces. In the Northern Rio Grande, the presence of Scottsbluff, Jay, Bajada, and other large dart points dating to the Late Paleoindian and Archaic in Coalition and Classic period sites rarely elicits more than a description as a “curated” item or “heirloom,” or as a knife replicating an older style.
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